Kentucky DUI Bill Would Presume Guilt for Anyone Found With Drugs In Their System
By: Mary Ann Pekara
Although it may come as a surprise to some people, driving under the influence applies to not only alcohol but also drugs. Now, a Kentucky DUI bill may make it easier to convict people who are caught driving with illegal drugs in their systems.
The Kentucky Senate recently approved Senate Bill 67, which would also lower the blood alcohol content (BAC) level needed to enforce harsher penalties for drunk driving, according to a story in the Lexington Herald-Leader.
This Kentucky DUI bill would presume that any motorist caught with illegal drugs in their system is guilty. Current Kentucky DUI law requires prosecutors to prove that the DUI suspect was impaired. While this Kentucky DUI bill would also apply to prescription drugs, motorists found with prescription drugs would have a legal defense, according to the story.
Senator Ray Jones sponsored this Kentucky DUI legislation, which he said was needed in the wake of a "growing epidemic" in which more and more DUI suspects are found to be under the influence of drugs. Jones added that while Kentucky prosecutors can charge anyone with a felony for having drugs in their pockets, they are having a greater difficulty convicting people with illegal drugs in their system. By automatically shifting this burden of guilt on the shoulders of any suspect found with illegal drugs in their system, Jones said that this Kentucky DUI legislation should help ease this difficulty.
In addition to dealing with drugs, this Kentucky DUI bill would lower the BAC level which may lead to the enforcement of stricter DUI penalties. Specifically, the BAC level would be lowered from 0.18 percent to 0.15 percent for steeper Kentucky DUI penalties to possibly take effect. It is illegal to be driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher in Kentucky and all other states in the U.S.
This Kentucky DUI legislation would also implement tougher DUI penalties for people caught driving under the influence down the wrong way on a highway or with children in their car. Jones was described in the story as saying that the state could lose federal highway safety funds if it doesn't implement such tougher DUI penalties.
Jones also called this Kentucky DUI bill one of the most important pieces of legislation in the state in recent history. After passing the State Senate with a 29-1 vote, this Kentucky DUI bill now moves to the House.